Human rights in the Philippines - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Human rights in the Philippines

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Filipino-Canadians demand justice for slain farmers in Negros

Apr 12, 2019 - 10:01 AM

The protest outside the Philippine Consulate in Toronto also calls for end to Canadian military aid to the Philippines

Photo by Marites Sison

2019 polls choice between 'better lives or doomed souls' – rights groups

Mar 07, 2019 - 2:45 PM

'At this juncture, we simply cannot afford a business-as-usual approach to this political exercise,' says the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates

Pompeo raises importance of free press, rights of 'all Filipinos' with Locsin

Mar 01, 2019 - 1:20 PM

'We never forget the importance of human rights, rule of law, transparency, justice wherever it is that we go,' says the visiting US official but refrains from publicly citing specific attacks on free speech and human rights in his host country

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens to Philippines' Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin (L) speak at a news conference at the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs Home Office in Manila on March 1, 2019. (Photo by Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP)

End Duterte ‘war’ on rights defenders, watchdogs say

Feb 28, 2019 - 6:39 PM

'Alongside his infamous ‘war on drugs’, President Duterte has declared open season on human rights defenders in the Philippines,' says the International Federation for Human Rights

'VIOLENT RHETORIC.' Human rights watchdogs call out President Rodrigo Duterte supposedly encouraging threats against human rights defenders like activists, journalists, and opposition lawmakers. Malacañang file photo

Chel Diokno: Duterte worse than Arroyo in human rights violations

Feb 20, 2019 - 9:55 AM

‘Never in our history have we seen this kind of killing,’ says Otso Diretso candidate Chel Diokno, who also has a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to declare the bloody campaign against illegal drugs unconstitutional

HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER. Chel Diokno of the Otso Diretso slate says the Duterte administration is worse than the Arroyo administration in terms of human rights violations. Rappler screenshot

Human rights defenders also killed under Duterte administration

Feb 07, 2019 - 6:13 PM

2017 marks the bloodiest year for human rights defenders under the Duterte administration

Over a hundred human rights defenders have been killed under the Duterte administration alone.

Rappler Talk: Lawyer Arpee Santiago on importance of Int'l Criminal Court

Jan 07, 2019 - 2:00 PM

Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug sits down with human rights lawyer Arpee Santiago, as the International Criminal Court's Office of the Prosecutor conducts a preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines

Human rights activists ‘never had it so good’ under Duterte admin – Panelo

Dec 20, 2018 - 12:56 PM

Malacañang makes this claim while President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to have human rights activists gunned down and has even warned he would slap UN special rapporteurs

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Presidential Chief Legal Counsel and Spokesperson Salvador Panelo at the sidelines of the 85th anniversary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) at The Forum of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Grounds in Pasay City on December 6, 2018. RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

U.N. expert to PH gov’t: Stop stigma against human rights defenders

Dec 19, 2018 - 12:06 PM

United Nations Special Rapporteur Michel Forst says 'public stigmatization of human rights defenders...can incite perpetrators to act against them'

HR DEFFENDERS – Cordillera Human Rights defenders march down Session Road to press the government to improve its human rights records in celebration of the 70th Celebration of International Human Rights Day late Monday afternoon in Baguio City. – Photo by Mau Victa

CHR's Liwasang Diokno a 'safe space' for human rights

Dec 11, 2018 - 5:01 PM

The freedom park is named after the late senator Jose 'Ka Pepe' Diokno – the father of human rights advocacy in the Philippines

IN PHOTOS: Filipinos urged to resist dictatorship, tyranny on Human Rights Day

Dec 10, 2018 - 9:39 PM

Human rights groups call for accountability and justice for the thousands of victims of human rights violations – particularly related to Duterte's bloody anti-illegal drugs campaign

WATCH: Filipino tweens and teens talk human rights

Dec 10, 2018 - 9:38 AM

Human rights is easy to understand. Let these kids explain it for you!

Robredo: Respect for human rights a reflection of our being Filipino

Dec 09, 2018 - 4:10 PM

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Vice President Leni Robredo urges all Filipinos to value life and dignity

VPLR led the launch of Laylayan Koalisyon for the province of Camarines Norte on Friday, 23 November 2018, at the Our Lady of Lourdes College Foundation in Daet, Camarines Norte. (Photo by OVP)

Rappler Talk: Prosecuting extrajudicial killings in the Philippines

Dec 06, 2018 - 3:10 PM

The Department of Justice has only investigated at least 76 cases of killings related to the war on drugs

'Death squad' vs NPA will 'worsen' existing human rights calamity

Nov 28, 2018 - 6:03 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte's statement that he will form sparrow units is a 'declaration of open season against rebels, leftists, civilians, and critics of the government,' according to Human Rights Watch

WORSE. Human rights groups warn that the President Rodrigo Duterte's plan to create squads similar to sparrow units will worsen the human rights situation in the Philippines. Photo from Malacañang

HRW on possible PH-wide Alsa Masa-like network: Another weapon vs rights

Nov 19, 2018 - 3:21 PM

Carlos Conde of Human Rights Watch says tapping groups like Alsa Masa for grassroots intelligence gathering 'will worsen the human rights calamity' in the Philippines

Strengthen human rights awareness of Filipinos, say opposition bets

Nov 16, 2018 - 12:55 PM

Senatorial aspirants Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, and Erin Tañada believe Filipinos should be made more aware of their human rights, so they won't be afraid to file reports when abuses happen

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS. Senatorial bets Erin Tañada, Chel Diokno, and Samira Gutoc say Filipinos should be made more aware of human rights. File photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

[OPINION] The people lost another good defender

Nov 11, 2018 - 9:41 AM

Atty Ben committed his life to building the resources and infrastructure necessary to empower farmers. He believed in farmers.

PEOPLE'S LAWYER. Lawyer Benjamin Ramos defended farmers, peasants, and the marginalized. Photo from MASIPAG

#TheLeaderIWant: Chel Diokno on legislation beyond human rights

Oct 25, 2018 - 6:24 PM

Does Chel Diokno have it in him to convince the tougher judge – the Filipino voter?

CHR to Duterte gov't: Fulfill duty as U.N. rights council member

Oct 14, 2018 - 7:10 PM

The Commission on Human Rights points out that the reelection of the Philippines was 'expected because the Asian group fielded as many candidates as there were seats in the Human Rights Council'

Politicians least trusted to respect human rights of Filipinos – SWS

Oct 14, 2018 - 6:30 PM

The Social Weather Stations survey also shows that teachers are the most trusted to have true respect for human rights

Protecting human rights groups vs threats

Sep 22, 2018 - 10:00 PM

Human rights groups call for the passage of a bill that will recognize the essential role of human rights defenders in ensuring a peaceful and equal society

Powering through a crisis: Defending human rights under Duterte

Sep 21, 2018 - 9:00 AM

Even for veterans in the human rights movement, the last two years have been the worst

Support for families of drug war victims crucial in 'long process' for justice

Sep 09, 2018 - 10:40 PM

International human rights lawyer Ruben Carranza says these families face several challenges, including threats as they pursue cases

'Political, personal repercussions' may await gov't officials linked to drug war

Sep 09, 2018 - 9:15 PM

These repercussions could include restricted travel and frozen assets, says international human rights lawyer Ruben Carranza

CHR’s Gascon hits Duterte human rights tirade

Jul 23, 2018 - 8:16 PM

Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Chito Gascon says calls and protests against extrajudicial killings are not meant to stop government from doing its job

Protesters march towards Batasan along Commonwealth Ave., Quezon City during President Duterte’s 3rd State Of The Nation Address. Photos by  Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

HRW: Anti-tambay policy 'retraumatizes' communities affected by drug war

Jun 26, 2018 - 2:57 PM

'The police are again demonstrating their preference for wielding fear, intimidation, and arbitrary arrest to target vulnerable communities rather than respect for the rule of law,' says Phelim Kine of Human Rights Watch

File photos from Shutterstock, Alecs Ongcal and Fritzie Rodriguez/Rappler

Bato dela Rosa should be held accountable over drug war deaths – HRW

Apr 18, 2018 - 4:43 PM

'When Ronald Dela Rosa retires as director general of the PNP, he will leave behind a police force with a sordid human rights record unmatched since the Marcos dictatorship,' says Human Rights Watch

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa in a press conference at Camp Crame on Tueaday, December 12, 2017. The chief PNP says he will be transferred when he retires next year. Photo by DARREN LANGIT

Law groups to U.N. expert: Probe Duterte threats vs judiciary

Apr 18, 2018 - 4:10 PM

Malacañang, however, says President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno only show his 'dislike' of her, and not of the judiciary

Lawyers Arpee Santiago of the Ateneo Human Rights Center, Neri Colmenares of National Union of People's Lawyers and Integrated Bar of the Philippines' Abe Fajardo, Ryan Jay Roset and Dean Tony La Viña on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, show a copy of the submitted report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Diego Garcia Sayan narrating the recent statements by President Rodrigo Duterte against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Bring withdrawal from Int'l Criminal Court to SC? Risky due to 'political atmosphere'

Apr 09, 2018 - 6:43 PM

'For human rights advocates and for those who believe that we should be a member of the International Criminal Court, there is a certain risk in bringing it to the SC given the political atmosphere where it is operating now,” CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz says

At UK forum, Robredo admits 'struggle' in tackling human rights

Apr 08, 2018 - 7:10 PM

'I think the crucial thing here is that we can't give up. We have to continue doing the pushback,' says Vice President Leni Robredo at the London School of Economics and Political Science

'STRUGGLE IS REAL.' Vice President Leni Robredo speaks at a forum in the London School of Economics. Photo by OVP

Rappler Talk: CHR's Roberto Cadiz on PH's withdrawal from Int'l Criminal Court

Apr 05, 2018 - 5:02 PM

Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug speaks to CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz on the possible impact of the withdrawal from the ICC on their work and the fight to end the culture of impunity in the country

CHR: 'Dangerous, baseless' to link human rights groups with drug lords

Mar 28, 2018 - 8:06 PM

In response to Malacañang, the Commission on Human Rights says making allegations without proof opens human rights advocates to attacks

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No one to blame but Duterte for PH failure to curb drugs – rights group

Mar 27, 2018 - 3:45 PM

'Duterte did that all by himself, in a path of tyrannical megalomania and unparalleled self-destruction,' says Karapatan, in response to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Committee (MRRD-NECC) National Convention at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on March 21, 2018, reiterates that his campaign against illegal drugs will remain relentless amid criticisms. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Linking rights groups with drug lords 'dangerous, shameful’

Mar 26, 2018 - 8:12 PM

(UPDATED) 'Are they trying to have death squads target human rights activists?’ asks Human Rights Watch, after Malacañang tagged groups critical of its drug war as paid lackeys of drug lords

Int'l Criminal Court 'encourages' PH gov't to reconsider withdrawal

Mar 20, 2018 - 7:30 PM

The International Criminal Court also reiterates that withdrawal from the court would not change a country's obligation to cooperate in a proceeding which had already begun

PH withdrawal from Int'l Criminal Court 'hasty, ill-conceived' – ICJ

Mar 20, 2018 - 4:31 PM

The International Commission of Jurists says President Rodrigo Duterte's justification for making the decision is 'a litany of poorly thought out pseudo-legal arguments and self-serving statements'

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during his arrival at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on January 26, 2018 following a fruitful visit to India, announces that India has agreed to expand cooperation with the Philippines in the areas of defense, counter-terrorism and anti-illegal drugs campaign. JOEY DALUMPINES/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Lawmakers form group to push for human rights in House agenda

Mar 19, 2018 - 4:40 PM

Consisting of lawmakers 'who have crossed party lines,' Mambabatas Para Sa Karapatang Pantao (Makatao) aims to speed up the legislative process for human rights measures in the Philippines

Prone to abuse: State surveillance as a tool to silence critics

Mar 18, 2018 - 12:18 PM

Human rights activists say the conduct of both physical and communication surveillance is prone to abuse and is a violation of a citizen's right to privacy

You think your data, communication devices are safe? Think again

Mar 17, 2018 - 11:01 PM

According to privacy rights group Privacy International, there have been at least 7 recorded sales of surveillance equipment to the Philippines

ACCESS. Information and communications on a person's device can be accessed through the use of different types of equipment and software.

Duterte's plan to withdraw from Int'l Criminal Court 'anti-people'

Mar 15, 2018 - 8:05 PM

The Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) says the withdrawal would expose Filipinos to lack of justice in the event of 'atrocious crimes'

CHR to Malacañang: Stop attacks on human rights defenders

Mar 14, 2018 - 12:23 PM

'Rather than attacking human rights bodies and human rights defenders, we urge the government to display sincere commitment to transparency and the rule of law by allowing unhampered investigations to take place,' the Commission on Human Rights says

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the meeting with local chief executives from Luzon at the Royce Hotel in Clark, Pampanga on March 7, 2018, reiterates his strong stance against corruption and illegal drugs. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

What are the roles of United Nations special rapporteurs?

Mar 07, 2018 - 7:52 PM

Special rapporteurs work in their personal capacity and are not considered employees by the United Nations, hence they do not receive any salary

EXPERTS. United Nations special rapporteurs, such as Agnes Callamard, are tasked to monitor human rights situation around the world. Photo courtesy of Loey Felipe/UN Photo

UN rights chief slams Duterte's order to ignore drug war probes

Mar 07, 2018 - 6:54 PM

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein also warns that the 'authoritarian approach to governance' of President Rodrigo Duterte can do irreparable damage to efforts to strengthen rule of law in the country

CHR reminds Duterte, police: Obey 'lawful' orders

Mar 02, 2018 - 5:38 PM

The Commission on Human Rights says the Philippines is a signatory to various international treaties that require the country to be open to investigations in relation to alleged human rights abuses

Rights groups slam Cayetano's defense of drug war before UN

Mar 01, 2018 - 1:35 PM

Human Rights Watch urges the Philippine government to 'stop depicting itself as the victim'

Freedom of expression now 'battlefield' in fight for human rights – Amnesty Int'l

Feb 22, 2018 - 3:45 PM

Amnesty International Philippines' Jose Noel Olano says there is a 'diminishing space' in the area of freedom of expression in the Philippines, making the ability to voice out, criticize, check government become more dangerous

FIGHT. Jose Noel Olano, Section Director of Amnesty International Philippines, says freedom of expression now a battlefield in fight for human rights. Photo by DARREN LANGIT

Rappler Talk: Gary Alejano on holding the Duterte administration accountable

Feb 22, 2018 - 2:06 PM

On Thursday, February 22, Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug speaks to Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano about the importance of maintaining check and balance in government

WATCH: The International Criminal Court process

Feb 20, 2018 - 6:40 PM

The International Criminal Court aims to help end impunity by perpetrators of the most serious offenses such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression

HRW: Indonesia's award for Dela Rosa 'an insult' to PH drug war victims

Feb 15, 2018 - 1:09 PM

'[The award] is perverse assessment of a Philippine government official implicated in possible crimes against humanity for inciting and instigating killings linked to the war on drugs,' HRW’s deputy Asia director Phelim Kine says